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Juvenile Focus
By Alvin W. Cohn, D.Crim.
President, National Juvenile Court Services Association

NCJRS ONLINE THESAURUS - The NCJRS Abstracts Database can now be searched online using the National Criminal Justice Thesaurus of more than 5,500 terms. This powerful, fully researchable tool allows users to search precisely the indexed contents of more than 175,000 abstracts. The thesaurus can be accessed directly at:
http://abstractsdb.ncjrs.org/content/Thesaurus/Thesaurus Search.asp (NCJRS)

MENTAL ILLNESS TREATMENT - Thousands of American parents are turning their children over to social workers or the police because it is the only way for the children to receive treatment for mental illnesses, reports the General Accounting Office. More than 12,700 children were placed in the child welfare or criminal justice system in 2001, which was the first attempt by the government to assess the scope of the problem. The GAO report said 32 states, including the largest five, did not provide data on how many children with mental illness were sent to child welfare agencies to receive treatment. Data on the number who ended up in the criminal justice system were based on just 30 counties nationwide. The report states that adolescent boys with mental illnesses are more likely to "act out," and adolescent girls with similar conditions tended to "act in" and become withdrawn. The GAO report found that communities that were able to lower the incidence of mental illness and keep troubled children and families intact were those that focused on prevention and flexibility.

CHILD SUPPORT TRAINING - The Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has developed a series of training materials called "brown bags." To date, OCSE has released three training packages with plans to issue several more in the coming months. As each "brown bag" is released, it is posted on the OCSE website at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs.cse.pubs/training/index.cfm. The "brown bag" series is designed so that the training can be conducted by local child support staff within a one-hour timeframe. Issues covered include child support, security awareness, and family violence.

YOUTHFUL OFFENDERS IN ADULT CORRECTIONS - The National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is offering a training program that discusses successful interventions for juveniles in adult correctional settings. It will be a live, 32-hour satellite/internet distance learning training program September 8-12, 2003. To complete an application, see www.nicic.org or contact Ed Wolahan at the NIC Academy, (800) 995-6429, ext. 131.

SCHOOLS AND EMERGENCY PLANS - Public schools will be eligible for $30 million in federal grants to prepare for terrorism and other emergencies. The money will come from the Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools program. A school preparedness Web site has been created: www.ed.gov/emergency plan. The site is designed to help schools develop crisis plans for emergencies. 

TRIBAL WEB PAGE - A tribal Web page for the Tribal Youth Program has been added to OJJDP's Web site at: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/typ/. The program is part of the Indian Country Law Enforcement Initiative, which is designed to improve law enforcement and juvenile justice practices for American Indian and Alaska Native youth and assist them with mental health and substance abuse services. Contents include such issues as frequently asked questions, grants and funding, grantees, publications, research and evaluation, training and technical assistance, upcoming events, and other resources.

DRUG COURTS ASSESSMENT - Drug Court Monitoring, Evaluation, and Management Information Systems: National Scope Needs Assessment (NCJ 195077) provides the results of an assessment conducted by the National Drug Court Training and Technical Assistance Program and is designed to help capture the best practices of current programs to ensure that future drug courts achieve the same success rates. The full text (online only) can be obtained at: http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffilesl/bja/195077.pdf.
Additionally, Public Domain Drug Court Software: Functions and Utility (NCJ 197258) reviews four public domain drug court management information systems (MISs) to help jurisdictions identify and select software that can support their information management needs. The information presented includes basic system elements, acquisition requirements and costs, and contact information. Available (online only) at: http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles/bja/197258.pdf.

Also, Juvenile Drug Court: Strategies in Practice (NCJ 197866) offers 16 strategies or recommendations for a juvenile drug court that are meant to be adapted to the unique characteristics of each court and the community it serves. Available (online only) at: http://ncjrs.org/pdffiles/bja/197866.pdf.

YOUNG OFFENDER PROGRAMS - Treatment, Services, and Intervention Programs for Child Delinquents is a recent OJJDP Bulletin that describes treatment, services, and intervention programs and their efficacy designed for juvenile offenders younger than age 13. It can be obtained at: http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/delinq.html#193410.

REENTRY WEB SITE - The Office of Justice Program's (OJP's) Reentry Web site has been redesigned and is the primary source of online information for and about grantees of OJP's Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative. The site now provides additional information about reentry that is appropriate for a more general audience. New selections include state activities and resources and training and technical assistance. The Web site can be accessed at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/reentry.

FEDERAL RESEARCH SERVICE - The federal government has pulled together efforts from multiple agencies to create a free public search service called FirstGov for Science. The Web site lets people run a combined search against technical reports, journal articles, conference proceedings, and Web pages from 10 federal agencies and 14 scientific organizations. See www.science.gov.

DRUG AND ALCOHOL ABUSE - Girls and young women are more easily addicted to drugs and alcohol, have different reasons from boys for abusing substances, and many need single-sex treatment programs to beat back their addictions, reports the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. The report indicates that girls get hooked faster using lesser amounts of alcohol, drugs, and cocaine, and they suffer the consequences faster and more severely. With some exceptions, the substance abuse prevention programs have really been designed with a unisex, one-size-fits-both-sexes mentality, the report states, even though it is known that girls are different from boys. The study, based on a three-year survey of female subjects ages eight to 22, found the gender gap was narrowing between girls and boys who smoke, drink, and use drugs. Approximately 45 percent of high school girls drink alcohol, compared with 49 percent of boys, and girls outpace boys in the use of prescription drugs. While boys often experiment with cigarettes, alcohol, and rugs for thrills or higher social status, girls do so to reduce stress or alleviate depression, the study found.

INMATE EDUCATIONAL ATTAINMENT - According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the educational attainment of state prison inmates include:
* 39.7 percent - some high school or less
* 28.5 percent - GED certificate
* 20.5 percent - high school diploma
* 9.0 percent - postsecondary/some college
* 2.4 percent - college graduate or more
The BJS report describes the availability of educational programs for inmates in prisons and jails and their participation in educational and vocational programs since admission. The full text can be obtained at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/ecp.htm.

YOUTH VIOLENCE - OJJDP announces the availability of Trends in Juvenile Violent Offending: An Analysis of Victim Survey Data, which presents information on trends over the past two decades. It is based on data collected from the victims of those offenses by the National Crime Victimization Survey. The text can be obtained at: http://www.ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/delinq.html#191052.

THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN - Printed copies of the most recent issue of The Future of Children Journal, "Children, Youth, and Gun Violence (Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer/Fall 2002) along with other back issues of the journal from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation can be ordered from the Web site at: http://www.futureofchildren.org/cart2869.htm.

OJJDP PUBLICATIONS - The following publications can be ordered free of charge:
Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2000: Selected Findings.http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pus/correction.html#196595
Violent Victimization as a Risk Factor for Violent Offending Among Juveniles - http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/violvict.html#195737
Juvenile Arrest: 2000 - http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/general.html#191729
Juvenile Gun Courts: Promoting Accountability and Providing Treatment - http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/court.html#187078.
Best Practices in Juvenile Accountability: Overview - http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/general.html#184745.
Race as a Factor in Juvenile Arrests - http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/general.html#189180
Highlights of the 2001 National Youth Gang Survey - http://ojjdp/ncjrs.org/pubs/fact.html#200301.
Prevalence and Development of Child Delinquency - http://ojjdp.ncjrs.org/pubs/delinq.html#193411.
Child Maltreatment 2000 - http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/cmreports.htm.
Responding to Gangs: Evaluation and Research - http://www.ncjrs.org/pdffiles1/nij/190351.pdf.
Safe Harbor: A School-Based Victim Assistance/Violence Prevention Program - http://www.ojjdp.usdoj.gov/ovc/publications/bulletins/safeharbor 2003/

BJS WEBSITES - BJS has established new Web sites, including:
Crime & Justice Data Online
This new interactive application provides quick access to comprehensive and easy to use crime and justice data. 
Reentry Trends in the United States
This new section summarizes the latest data concerning inmates returning to the community after serving prison time.
To subscribe to JUSTATS and get e-mail notices of all new and updated statistical materials from:
* Bureau of Justice Statistics
* Federal Bureau of Investigation
Send an e-mail to listproc@ncjrs.org and leave the subject line blank, and in the message, type "subscribe JUSTATS" and your name.

LEAD AND NICOTINE-RELATED CHEMICALS - Levels of lead and nicotine-related chemicals in humans have been sharply reduced over the past decade reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). However, researchers found that levels of a nicotine-related chemical called cotinine in young children were more than twice the levels found in non-smoking adults. Levels of tobacco-related chemicals in non-smoking adults dropped by 75 percent from the early to late 1990s, but decreased by 58 percent in children and 55 percent in adolescents. Experts said the discrepancy is the result of physiological differences in adults and children. The study found that the proportion of young children with elevated levels of lead dropped by half during the past decade - from 4.4 percent to 2.2 percent of children five and younger. As many as 20 percent of young children living in poverty suffer from levels of lead high enough to affect their nervous systems and intellectual growth.

HIGH RATE OF HISPANICS QUIT SCHOOL - According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Hispanic children (21 percent) quit school almost at a rate of three times that of whites (8 percent) and twice that of blacks (12 percent). Among the reasons:
* Poorly designed reading programs and research on how to teach a child whose primary language is not English.
* Many school districts fail to track the academic success of their students by race and ethnicity; therefore, little data are available on the performance of Hispanic students. Schools also fail to verify dropout rates.
* Many schools have low expectations for Hispanic students and don't steer them toward college.
* Surveys show that only 38 percent of Hispanic parents believe schools give them the information they need to help their children succeed in the classroom.

GUN HOMICIDES BY TEENS - Homicide Trends in the United States: 2000 Update is a recent BJS publication that reveals that gun homicides by teens and young adults in the United States has fallen since 1993. The report outlines the primary findings and are based on the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The text can be found at: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/htus00.htm.

NARCISSISM AND VIOLENCE - Researchers recently have found that there is no clear link between low self-esteem and many violent and risky behaviors assumed to be related to it, including delinquency, violence against others, suicide, eating disorders, and teenage pregnancy. However, high self-esteem was positively correlated with drunken driving, racist attitudes, and other risky behaviors. In another study, these same researchers compared men imprisoned for murder, rape, assault, and armed robbery with groups of men the same age. They found that those convicted of violent crimes did not differ in self-esteem from those who did not. But they did dramatically differ in narcissism. The research suggests that batterer programs should not be focusing on abusers' self-esteem, but rather on their narcissism and self-control.

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